June 30, 2015

Go-ahead for wind turbines at Auchtertool

Central Fife Times & Advertiser | 29 Jun 2015 | www.centralfifetimes.com

Plans have been approved which will see three giant wind turbines, each just under 100metres tall, built near Auchtertool.

Councillors at last week’s Central Area planning committee granted permission for the structures to be erected at Clentrie Farm, to the east of the village.

The plans were agreed subject to conditions and conclusion of a legal agreement for a restoration bond and there should also be a windfall for the community with £20,700 paid into a fund each year – potentially more than £500,000 over 25 years.

The application was submitted by Renewable Energy Ventures (Gevens) Ltd as part of a farm diversification scheme with the landowne and a variation of plans first tabled in 2011.

Permission had been granted previously by Fife Council for three turbines at 99.5m in height but work had not started and the new application will see more efficient models built and the overall height of each turbine increase by 40 centimetres to 99.9m.

They’ll be erected on a site 1.2hectares in size – primarily used for sheep and cattle grazing at present – and will have a maximum generating capacity of 6.9megawatts.

Camilla Loch, a site of special scientific interest, is 200m from the site and Auchtertool lies 1km to the south.

The turbines are expected to be operational for 25 years and the site decommissioned at the end of that period.

The new plans attracted 11 objections but a council report said, “In this case, given the principle of three wind turbines at this site has already been established with the approval of the aforementioned 2011 application, there is a broad acceptance that the current proposal to increase the overall height of the turbine from 99.5m to 99.9m is acceptable, as long as there is no significant adverse impact upon residential amenity, the built or natural environment along with other matters such as aviation safety.

“Overall, there is general acceptance that wind turbine developments need to be located in the countryside.”

Collison risk

It also stated the proposed development “would not have any adverse impact on ecology and other wildlife interests”, “would not have any impact with regards to shadow flicker” and the predicted noise levels would be “within the limits”.

The applicants’ agent did provide an ornithological study which recorded 27 flights of pink footed geese and one of greylag – an average of 26 birds per year – which were “at collision risk height (mortality rate)”.

The council report said that “whilst it was acknowledged that there may be some potential increase in the mortality rate of the birds in flight over the site, it was likely to be very small and was not likely to have any effect on the viability of either species”.

The original plan had been recommended for refusal by the council’s planning officers but councillors had decided to approve.

The site is near to the Little Raith wind farm, where there are already nine huge turbines, and industrial structures at Mossmorran and officers were worried about the “significant cumulative impact” on the landscape.

Fife Council said that, within a 10km radius of the Clentrie Farm site, 45 wind turbines have already been approved while the operators of the Little Raith site have appealed to the Scottish Government after their application for another six turbines were refused. A total of 30 are more than 100m in height.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2015/06/30/go-ahead-for-wind-turbines-at-auchtertool/